Open Farm Sunday beefs up support for farm hosts

Eight regional ambassadors will help farmers, crofters and smallholders prepare for this year’s Open Farm Sunday (OFS) – farming’s annual open day – which takes place on Sunday 27 June.

The ambassadors will share ideas to engage visitors and give practical information on how to host safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

See also: Open Farm Sunday – Myths, information and advice

Three Zoom calls will be open to anyone interested in taking part in OFS, or any experienced hosts looking for new ideas.

They will be held 7.30-8.30pm on Monday 10 May, 12.30-1.30pm on Wednesday 12 May, and 8-9am on Friday 14 May.

Register here for the talks.

OFS ambassadors

  • Anne Mair-Chapman farms with her family in north Northumberland, including Suffolk and Blue Texel Sheep.
  • Jon Myhill is a crop consultant, specialising in energy and forage, and director of MB Farming, a contracting business in Norfolk and Suffolk.
  • Molly Biddell supports her family-run diversified estate in Surrey, as well as working as a policy analyst in the Savills rural research team.
  • Rona Amiss is a first-generation, tenanted farmer on the most southerly point of mainland UK and runs her own farm diversification.
  • Helen Chappell runs a traditional mixed dairy and arable farm in the North West, which has been in the family for seven generations.
  • They join Andy Guy (Midlands, England), Jamie McCoy (Wales) and Rebecca Dawes (Scotland), who have all been reappointed, having worked with LEAF OFS for more than five years and each hosting their own on-farm events. 

Scotland ambassador Rebecca Dawes said: “My fellow ambassadors and I have experience hosting a wide range of events, from a small self-guided farm walk for 10 people to something a little larger for 100.

“We will be on hand to provide our own experience and share some of the useful tools available, which include: the ticketing system so you can manage your visitor numbers; activity sheets and ideas; risk-assessment templates; simple solutions for hand-washing; and clever ways to promote your event.”

Top tip

North-east England ambassador Anne Mair-Chapman said: “Make your event fun, friendly and forget the farming jargon.

“After the year we’ve all had, your event needs to feel like a bit of light relief in the fresh air. An informal introduction as people arrive is sometimes all it takes to get the questions going. Remember your audience and think of other ways to describe the work you do, farming terms are not always self-explanatory.”

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